Contributor Ellis B. Feaster and I were talking about how Don Imus was the best thing to happen to WNBC in 1972. His live commercial reads were legendary – and gave the sales department something to sell. My first comment upon hearing this for the first time was, “My God, was Imus stoned in 1972 or what?” Knowing what we know now about the I-man’s addictions to alcohol and drugs, it’s likely that was the case.
What more could I write about a man whom dozens, if not hundreds of radio people all over America were inspired to get into the business because of Don Imus? What could I possibly say that hasn’t already been said? For your humble Founder, discovering Imus on the radio for the first time in the late seventies was like finding the funniest comedian I’d ever heard. And the man could drop his lines over a ten-second record intro. It was pure magic.
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This recording drags a little. Either the source tape was recorded a bit too fast or the playback unit was a bit slow. Or the tape stretched with age. At any rate, the music sounds a *little* slower than normal and the pitch is ever so slightly lower. I tried to fix that with a bit of time compression and compensation but too much processing leaves digital artifacts. So, it’s a bit better than I first heard it. Also, as tapes age, they tend to lose the oxide coating that holds the analog sound information. This one suffers a little of that, more in some locations than others. The beginning of this tape was worse than the end. That’s normal.
For the one year anniversary, Imus had a number of NBC staffers record congratulatory statements. In their own snarky ways, poking fun of Imus lasting a whole year. Okay, that WAS funny considering he was so much different than the competition. That was another comment I made to Ellis. It’s a miracle NBC even kept the I-Man. Harry Harrison was KILLING it over at WABC. WNBC didn’t stand a chance. NBC didn’t really become popular until the 1980s, as WABC bit the dust.
This aircheck is the first in a series we are presenting in tribute and Memoriam to the great Don Imus. Part two in this series will post shortly.